An Introduction to Habakkuk’s Story of “Lamenting and Waiting”

If you’ve never read Habakkuk (or its been awhile), I encourage you to sit down sometime this week and read through the words of this short treasure of wisdom and hope buried near the end of the Old Testament.

Most of the prophetic books just record the prophets speaking God’s words to Israel, but here we get an intimate look into a personal conversation between God and his servant Habakkuk.

Habakkuk experienced gut-wrenching pain as he observed the injustices and sinful behavior around him, most likely being perpetuated by his own people, the nation of Israel. His questions are not unlike many we have today, such as: (1) Why does God allow injustice? (2) Why is evil not punished? and (3) What will God do about it?

He took his concerns to the Lord only to find out that his people would be punished by a far more wicked group: the Babylonians.

Three things stand out about Habakkuk’s story:

  • He waits on the Lord — “I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me,and what I will answer concerning my complaint” (Hab. 2:1).
  • God informs Habakkuk that the just will live by faith—“The righteous (just) shall live by faith” (Hab. 2:4).
  • Habakkuk renews his trust in the Lord—“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places” (Hab. 3:13–19).

The next few days, we’ll take a look at each of these three parts and the truths from the corresponding verses.